Homily for the 2nd Sunday of Advent Year A
Theme: Qualities with which the Messiah will be blessed
By: Fr Joachim Omolo Ouko, AJ
Homily for Sunday December 8 2019
Today is second Sunday in Advent. The first reading is taken from Isaiah 11:1-10, in which prophet Isaiah described six qualities with which the Messiah will be blessed: “God’s spirit will rest upon him:
1. The spirit of wisdom
3. The spirit of counsel
5. The spirit of knowledge
6. Fear of God” (Isaiah 11:2).
In all these qualities, the Messiah will excel all other human beings. The Messiah will see through the sham and hypocrisy of this world. He will have the power to sense a person’s spirit, thereby knowing his entire spiritual record, and judging whether he is guilty or not.
As the Messiah’s powers develop, so will his fame. The world will begin to recognize his profound wisdom and come to seek his advice. He will then teach all mankind to live in peace and follow God’s teachings.
The second reading is taken from Romans 15:4-9, in which Paul’s exhortation for mature Christians and weak, or immature, believers to welcome one another and not divide over nonessential matters was prompted by divisions between Jews and Gentiles in the Roman church.
The strong, mature believers knew that they were free to eat whatever is sanctified by prayer. But the weak, immature believers had not yet grasped the truth of their freedom in the Lord. Remembering this background explains why the Apostle can move from a discussion of Christian freedom to Jesus’ fulfillment of God’s promises to Jews and Gentiles in today’s passage.
Paul gives additional theological justification for Christians to welcome one another by reminding his readers of God’s purpose to bring Jews and Gentiles together in the worship of the one, true Creator—Yahweh, the covenant Lord of Israel.
Paul does not mean that Jewish Christians are masters over Jesus; rather, his point is that the Son of God came to meet the needs of His people, to serve them at the deepest level possible in saving them from sin.
The Gospel reading is taken from Matthew 3:1-12, in which John the Baptist prepares the way for the Lord. John’s preaching was simple:” Repent!” That meant, “Admit that you’ve gotten it wrong.
John’s message of “repentance” entailed a deep consciousness of offense to God within the sinner’s heart, with a required reformation of life.
As we hear about John today, we might try to imagine ourselves among the crowds. With whom would you identify? Are you with the conservatives who think they know God’s truth and are clear and strict in its moral demands?
Are you with the politically correct liberals who strive to be pure, adjusting moral demands to the times, all the while enjoying the certainty that comes from ongoing in-group prayer and reflection?
John‟s effort at combating corruption in his days was a call to a change of heart and return to God. He challenges people to quit sinning and seek righteousness. He was disgusted with the priesthood and the political leaders and the level of corruption that engulf Temple and the society.
According to the Synoptic Gospels, Herod, who was tetrarch, or sub-king, of Galilee under the Roman Empire, had imprisoned John the Baptist because he reproved Herod for divorcing his wife (Phasaelis, daughter of King Aretas of Nabataea) and unlawfully taking Herodias, the wife of his brother Herod Philip I.
Jewish law forbade marriage to your brother’s wife while your brother was still living, as Philip was. Herod presumed that political power made him above the law, but John the Baptist was not afraid to speak truth to power. Herod’s marriage was unlawful and therefore no marriage at all. It was adultery. John named it as such.
The consequences of adultery were disastrous already for Jews because adultery, murder and idolatry were considered Chillul Hashem – the acts of desecrating the name of God. By committing adultery a human being falls under the influence of an evil spirit because it is a mockery of God’s law.
Looking at it from the psychological perspective it is a very simple thing: we have the first wife’s depression, children’s auto aggression, lowered self-esteem – and these are only some of the psychological consequences.
An adulterer, a person who lives in another relationship, rarely has the right reference to God because it is nearly impossible. An adulterer is possessed. Not in the strict sense. It is a kind of demonic enslavement. Therefore, adultery is a horrible sin.
Fr Joachim Omolo Ouko, AJ